Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October Also Recognized As National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Submitted by: Dr. Sarah Gareau

Between the pink Facebook profile pictures, Race for the Cure, and pink ribbons on merchandise, many of you may have noticed that October is breast cancer awareness month.What you may not have known is that it is also National Domestic Violence Awareness month. The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her lifetime is a little less than 1 in 8. The chance of a woman being physically or sexually assaulted by a partner at some point in her lifetime is 1 in 4. In fact, according to, almost as many women died during the Vietnam War from domestic violence as soldiers died. While there have been critical achievements in reducing domestic violence through such measures as the Violence Against Women Act, domestic violence continues to be a ‘devastating public health crisis.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner, including behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.Although you might think of domestic violence as an issue that only impacts poor women or women of color, it can happen to anyone regardless of race, socioeconomic background, educational level, age, sexual orientation, religion, or gender. Yes, even men can be the victims of abuse.

If you are interested in reducing domestic violence, there are several things you can do:

If you are in a domestic violence relationship, there is help. Contact the National Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or contact Jenny Smith, MSW, LCSW, EdS at 828-328-7252 to make an on campus appointment for one-on-one counseling.

Dr. Sarah Gareau is the Director of the new L-R Master of Public Health program. Dr. Gareau has planned public health programming at the state and national levels related to women’s health and rights and will soon be serving on the Rape Crisis Center of Catawba County’s Board of Directors.